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Netflix Inc has raised its monthly subscription price by $1 to $2 per month in the United States depending on the plan, the company said on Friday, to help pay for new programming to compete in the crowded streaming TV market.

The standard plan, which allows for two simultaneous streams, now costs $15.49 per month, up from $13.99, in the United States.

Prices also rose in Canada, where the standard plan climbed to C$16.49 from C$14.99.

Shares of Netflix gained nearly 3 per cent to $533.84 on Nasdaq after Reuters broke the news of the price rises. They closed 1.3 per cent higher at $525.69.

The increases, the first in those markets since October 2020, took effect immediately for new customers. Existing members will see the new prices in the coming weeks when they receive their monthly bills.

“We understand people have more entertainment choices than ever and we’re committed to delivering an even better experience for our members,” a Netflix spokesperson said.

“We’re updating our prices so that we can continue to offer a wide variety of quality entertainment options. As always we offer a range of plans so members can pick a price that works for their budget,” the spokesperson added.

The world’s largest streaming service is facing the most competition ever from companies looking to attract viewers to online entertainment. Walt Disney Co (DIS.N), AT&T Inc’s (T.N) WarnerMedia, Amazon.com Inc and Apple Inc (AAPL.O) are among the rivals pouring billions into new programming.

Netflix has added customers despite prior price increases, which shows its members have been willing to accept higher costs, Evercore ISI analyst Mark Mahaney said.

“This is evidence that Netflix has pricing power,” Mahaney said.

Netflix had said it would spend $17 billion on programming in 2021. The company has not disclosed spending for 2022.

The U.S. price of Netflix’s premium plan, which enables four streams at a time and streaming in ultra HD, was increased by $2 to $19.99 per month. For Netflix’s basic plan, with one stream, the cost rose by $1 to $9.99 per month.

In Canada, the premium plan rose by C$2 to C$20.99, and the basic plan was unchanged at C$9.99.

At $15.49 per month, the standard U.S. plan from Netflix now costs more than competitors. HBO Max, owned by AT&T Inc (T.N), is currently offering an $11.99-a-month promotion for 12 months.

The price of Walt Disney Co’s (DIS.N) Disney+ is $7.99 a month or $79.99 a year.

The United States and Canada is Netflix’s largest region with 74 million streaming customers as of September 2021. The region accounted for nearly 44 per cent of the company’s revenue in 2021’s third quarter, or about $3.3 billion.

Most of the company’s recent pickup in subscribers has come from overseas.

Netflix’s subscriber growth slowed from a boom early in the COVID-19 pandemic but rebounded with help from global phenomenon “Squid Game,” a dystopian thriller from South Korea released in September. Total global subscriptions reached 213.6 million.

The company’s next subscriber report is due Thursday when Netflix posts quarterly earnings. Analysts project the company will report 8.5 million new sign-ups from October through December, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S data, bringing its global subscriber base to 222 million.

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Popular dancer, Kaffy

Popular dancer, Kaffy has asked those who are not happy with her decision to walk out of her marriage to either unfollow her on Instagram or deal with it as she has chosen her path.

The dance queen shocked fans during the week after she announced in her new podcast episode ‘JustKaffy’ that her marriage to her ex-hubby, Joseph Ameh, a music director and drummer has ended.

Kaffy got married to Joseph Ameh in 2012 and their union was blessed with two children.

However, in an Instagram post, Kaffy wrote, “I am Kaffy…I have chosen my path! Deal with it or Unfollow.”

In another post, the popular choreographer said she could see clearly now after her marriage crashed.

“Those who know me know that I am more than a dancer. I explore my full humanity through dance. I am an advocate for human excellence and advocacy and productivity. “My marriage failed for so many reasons and I am grateful it failed because I was blind and now I see. Follow me and I go show you wetin I see so you won’t fall like me and if you do, you shall rise. I am Kaffy”, she wrote.

She had earlier announced during an episode on her podcast that her marriage had crashed.

She said, “I have always wanted to see the best version of my ex and even taking the chance of breaking this marriage was also to see that we both grew into what we are really supposed to be.

“Separation isn’t the end of life for both parties involved. In fact, if both of you are honest about why you have to go apart, you will realize how much better life can be. Some people make it back, some don’t. What is ultimate is the outcome borne out of love.

“My truth has set me free from a lot that was wrongfully conditioned by various elements and one step at a time I will share: My mistakes, how I identified them, surviving depression, my process to healing and the kind of help I got. And so many life lessons I learnt and still learning ( I will always be a learner for life ).

“People need to know! A life out there can be saved, a marriage out there can do better than mine and more importantly, a second chance is always there for us all to take,” the dance queen wrote.
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Sidney Poitier in 2014

Sidney Poitier, who broke through racial barriers as the first Black winner of the best actor Oscar for his role in “Lilies of the Field,” and inspired a generation during the civil rights movement, has died at age 94, an official from the Bahamian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Friday.

Eugene Torchon-Newry, acting director general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, confirmed Poitier’s death.

Poitier created a distinguished film legacy in a single year with three 1967 films at a time when segregation prevailed in much of the United States.

In “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” he played a Black man with a white fiancee and “In the Heat of the Night” he was Virgil Tibbs, a Black police officer confronting racism during a murder investigation. He also played a teacher in a tough London school that year in “To Sir, With Love.”

Poitier had won his history-making best actor Oscar for “Lilies of the Field” in 1963, playing a handyman who helps German nuns build a chapel in the desert. Five years before that Poitier had been the first Black man nominated for a lead actor Oscar for his role in “The Defiant Ones.”

His Tibbs character from “In the Heat of the Night” was immortalized in two sequels – “They Call Me Mister Tibbs!” in 1970 and “The Organization” in 1971 – and became the basis of the television series “In the Heat of the Night” starring Carroll O’Connor and Howard Rollins.

His other classic films of that era included “A Patch of Blue” in 1965 in which his character ias befriended by a blind white girl, “The Blackboard Jungle” and “A Raisin in the Sun,” which Poitier also performed on Broadway.

Poitier was born in Miami on Feb. 20, 1927, and raised on a tomato farm in the Bahamas, and had just one year of formal schooling. He struggled against poverty, illiteracy and prejudice to become one of the first Black actors to be known and accepted in major roles by mainstream audiences.

Poitier picked his roles with care, burying the old Hollywood idea that Black actors could appear only in demeaning contexts as shoeshine boys, train conductors and maids.

“I love you, I respect you, I imitate you,” Denzel Washington, another Oscar winner, once told Poitier at a public ceremony.

As a director, Poitier worked with his friend Harry Belafonte and Bill Cosby in “Uptown Saturday Night” in 1974 and Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder in 1980’s “Stir Crazy.”

STARTED ON STAGE

Poitier grew up in the small Bahamian village of Cat Island and in Nassau before he moved to New York at 16, lying about his age to sign up for a short stint in the Army and then working at odd jobs, including dishwasher, while taking acting lessons.

The young actor got his first break when he met the casting director of the American Negro Theater. He was an understudy in “Days of Our Youth” and took over when the star, Belafonte, who also would become a pioneering Black actor, fell ill.

Poitier went on to success on Broadway in “Anna Lucasta” in 1948 and, two years later, got his first movie role in “No Way Out” with Richard Widmark.

In all, he acted in more than 50 films and directed nine, starting in 1972 with “Buck and the Preacher” in which he co-starred with Belafonte.

In 1992, Poitier was given the Life Achievement Award by the American Film Institute, the most prestigious honor after the Oscar, joining recipients such as Bette Davis, Alfred Hitchcock, Fred Astaire, James Cagney and Orson Welles.

“I must also pay thanks to an elderly Jewish waiter who took time to help a young Black dishwasher learn to read,” Poitier told the audience. “I cannot tell you his name. I never knew it. But I read pretty good now.”

In 2002, an honorary Oscar recognized “his remarkable accomplishments as an artist and as a human being.”

Poitier married actress Joanna Shimkus, his second wife, in the mid-1970s. He had six daughters with his two wives and wrote three books – “This Life” (1980), “The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography” (2000) and “Life Beyond Measure: Letters to My Great-Granddaughter” (2008).

“If you apply reason and logic to this career of mine, you’re not going to get very far,” he told the Washington Post. “The journey has been incredible from its beginning. So much of life, it seems to me, is determined by pure randomness.”

Poitier wrote three autobiographical books and in 2013 published “Montaro Caine,” a novel that was described as part mystery, part science fiction.

Poitier was knighted by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II in 1974 and served as the Bahamian ambassador to Japan and to UNESCO, the U.N. cultural agency. He also sat on Walt Disney Co’s board of directors from 1994 to 2003.

In 2009, Poitier was awarded the highest U.S. civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by President Barack Obama.

The 2014 Academy Awards ceremony marked the 50th anniversary of Poitier’s historic Oscar and he was there to present the award for best director.

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Another weekend, another chance for Sony’s superhero adventure “Spider-Man: No Way Home” to flex its box office dominance.

The comic book sequel, starring Tom Holland as Marvel’s favorite neighborhood web-slinger, towered over domestic box office charts for the third weekend in a row. “No Way Home” captured $52.7 million over the New Year’s holiday frame, boosting its domestic tally to $609 million. It extends an epic streak for the latest Spidey adventure, which continues to deliver the kind of ticket sales it would have been expected to make in pre-pandemic times.

No other blockbuster has been able to come close to reaching similar box office heights, at least in the U.S. and Canada. After “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” the next highest-grossing tentpole of COVID-19 times is Disney and Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” with $224 million domestically. Without any real competition until Paramount’s scary sequel “Scream,” the fifth instalment in the slasher series, opens on Jan. 14, Holland’s teen vigilante will keep raking in the dough.

For non-superhero enthusiasts, or perhaps those who have already seen “Spider-Man: No Way Home” in theatres more than once, Universal and Illumination’s animated musical comedy “Sing 2” enjoyed another relatively strong weekend.

The film, which features an all-star voice cast of Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson and more, earned $19.6 million from 3,892 cinemas between Friday and Sunday, down a scant 12% from its debut. Since landing on the big screen in advance of Christmas, the well-reviewed “Sing 2” has generated an impressive (for pandemic times) $89.6 million. To illustrate the headwinds still facing movies that aren’t of the superhero variety, the original 2016 film “Sing” sold far more tickets, ultimately grossing $270 million stateside and $634 million worldwide.

Disney and 20th Century’s “The King’s Man,” a prequel in the extended “Kingsmen” cinematic universe, landed in third place with $4.5 million from 3,180 theatres. That’s down only 24% from inaugural weekend ticket sales, however, its box office receipts weren’t that strong to begin with. So far, the spy comedy has picked up $19.5 million at the domestic box office. Internationally, “The King’s Man” added another $14.1 million from 22 overseas markets, boosting its global total to just $47.8 million.

At No. 4, Lionsgate’s crowd-pleasing sports drama “American Underdog” earned $3.9 million from 2,813 venues, pushing its North American tally to $14.9 million. The inspirational film about Kurt Warner’s unlikely rise to become a two-time NFL champion has been embraced by audiences (at least, those who went to see the film), with an “A+” CinemaScore. Unfortunately, high marks from moviegoers isn’t translating into the kind of word-of-mouth needed to sell tickets.

“The Matrix Resurrections” fell to fifth place, scraping together $3.5 million from 3,552 locations over the weekend while playing on HBO Max. That’s a 67% decline from its opening, by far the biggest dip in the top 15 on domestic box office charts.

The fourth “Matrix” movie, once again starring Keanu Reeves as the sleek cybercriminal Neo and Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity, is the last Warner Bros. movie (for now) to premiere on HBO Max on the same day as its theatrical debut. The studio’s strategy to put its entire 2021 slate concurrently on streaming may have boosted awareness around HBO Max, which had a lacklustre launch in 2020, but it massively curbed ticket sales for every movie that was released on the big screen.

Other notable releases in the top 10 include Disney’s “West Side Story,” which pocketed $2.1 million from 2,690 venues. In total, director Steven Spielberg’s remake of the classic musical has made only $29.6 million in North America and $47 million worldwide, a disastrous result considering the acclaimed movie cost $100 million to produce.

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Britney Spears pictured in 2018

Britney Spears has signaled she is not yet ready to return to making music after 13 years under a conservatorship that took away control of her personal and business affairs and left her scared of the entertainment business.

Spears, 40, who last month was freed from the court-imposed arrangement in 2008 sought by her father, said in a lengthy Instagram post on Monday that she wanted to “push myself a bit more and do things that scare me but not too much” in 2022.

“I guess it seems odd to most why I don’t even do music anymore… People have no idea the awful things they have done to me personally and after what I’ve been through, I’m scared of people and the business!!!,” wrote Spears, who last performed publicly in October 2018.

“Not doing my music anymore is my way of saying ‘Fuck You’ in a sense when it only actually benefits my family by ignoring my real work. It’s like I’ve subconsciously let them win,’ the “Toxic” singer added.

Spears, who is engaged to boyfriend Sam Asghari, complained to the judge in charge of her conservatorship case earlier this year that she found her father Jamie Spears, who was in charge of her career, controlling.

Jamie Spears was removed as conservator in September. He has said his only goal was to help his daughter rehabilitate her career after she suffered a mental health breakdown in 2007 and that he always acted in her best interest.
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“Spider-Man: No Way Home” unwrapped the best Christmas gift of all, becoming the first pandemic-era movie to cross $1 billion at the global box office.

Sony’s comic-book epic has eclipsed that milestone in a near-record 12 days, tying with 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” as the third-fastest film to reach the billion-dollar benchmark. Only 2018’s “Avengers: Infinity War” and 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame” were quicker, smashing the coveted tally in 11 and five days, respectively.

It’s impressive that “Spider-Man: No Way Home” managed to blow past $1 billion in ticket sales worldwide given the rapidly spreading omicron variant of COVID-19. It makes Tom Holland’s Marvel superhero adventure the only movie since 2019’s “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” to surpass $1 billion globally. No other Hollywood film has come close to nearing those box office revenues in the last two years.

Prior to Spidey’s reign, MGM’s James Bond sequel “No Time to Die,” which grossed $774 million globally, stood as the highest-grossing Hollywood film of 2021 (and the pandemic). As the first movie to reach $1 billion worldwide, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” took the earthly throne from another box-office behemoth, China’s “The Battle at Lake Changjin” ($902 million), to officially cement its place as the year’s highest-grossing film worldwide. It’s also notable that “No Way Home” surpassed that high-watermark without playing in China, which is currently the world’s biggest moviegoing market.

At the domestic box office, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” had another dominating weekend, soaring high above the competition during a crowded Christmas corridor.

The newest “Spider-Man” adventure collected $81 million from 4,336 North American theaters over the weekend. To put that figure in perspective, only select COVID-era releases have managed to generate that kind of coinage in their entire theatrical runs, much less in their second weekend of release. “Spider-Man: No Way Home” also managed to do so at a time when several new movies — “The Matrix Resurrections,” “Sing 2” and “The King’s Man,” among others — opened nationwide to decent (and not-so-decent) ticket sales.

It brings the film’s ten-day total to a mammoth $467 million at the domestic box office. That tally is more than double the next highest-grossing movie in Disney and Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” which earned a mighty $224 million domestically.

At the international box office, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” added $121.4 million over the weekend and has made $587 million to date, bringing its global revenues to $1.05 billion.

Universal and Illumination’s animated musical “Sing 2” had the biggest start among new releases, debuting in second place with $23.7 million over the traditional weekend and $41 million since Wednesday. (That number is slightly inflated because it includes $1.6 million banked from advanced screenings over Thanksgiving weekend.) It’s a softer start than its predecessor, 2016’s “Sing,” which had secured a three-day total of $35 million and five-day tally of $54.9 million. However, it’s not a bad result for a film targeted at parents with young kids at a time when family audiences have been especially wary about going to the movies.

The movie, directed by Garth Jennings and voiced by Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, Nick Kroll and Bono, has been well received by audiences, who awarded it a coveted “A+” CinemaScore. Unless the pandemic has something to say, “Sing 2” should benefit from a long run on the big screen, especially since it doesn’t have much competition among family films. The original “Sing,” centering on a bevy of animals with killer pipes, also opened around Christmas and played in theaters well into the new year, ultimately grossing $270 million domestically and $634 million worldwide. At this rate, the sequel will have trouble replicating those results but it should remain the de facto choice for youngsters through the holiday season.

“The Matrix Resurrections,” the Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow’s sci-fi sequel, landed with a thud in third place. The cerebral film landed significantly below expectations, scraping together $12 million from 3,552 cinemas over the weekend and $22.5 million since Wednesday. The fourth installment in the seminal series, like Warner Bros. entire 2021 slate, is available simultaneously on HBO Max, though the company didn’t provide digital viewership metrics.

Lana Wachowski returned to direct “The Matrix Resurrections,” which stars Keanu Reeves as the sleek cybercriminal Neo and Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity. The $200 million-budgeted tentpole has gotten mixed reviews (it has a 67 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes, as well as a “B-” CinemaScore), which may not move the needle for ticket sales while it’s playing simultaneously on a streaming service at no extra charge.

“Right now, if you’re under 35 and going to the movies, your first choice is ‘Spider-Man,’ and your second choice is seeing ‘Spider-Man’ again,” says David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. “You can watch ‘The Matrix’ later with someone who has HBO. That’s how it is when a single movie is dominating the market the way ‘Spider-Man’ is.”

Another newcomer, Disney and 20th Century’s “The King’s Man” finished in fourth place, amassing a paltry $6.3 million from 3,180 screens over the weekend and $10 million since opening on Wednesday. Internationally, the prequel in “The Kingsman” action franchise didn’t make up much ground. The oft-delayed spy comedy, starring Ralph Fiennes, nabbed only $6.9 million from seven overseas markets for a global tally of $16.9 million.

At the domestic box office, “The King’s Man” beat Lionsgate’s real-life sports drama “American Underdog” by a hair. In fifth place, “American Underdog” captured $6.2 million from 2,813 locations since opening on Christmas Day. The crowd-pleasing film about rags-to-riches quarterback Kurt Warner (played by Zachary Levi) has been embraced by moviegoers, who gave it an “A+” CinemaScore and 98 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes. Unfortunately, the movie hasn’t been high on audience’s radars and could get sacked by competitors over the busy holiday stretch.

Strong reviews didn’t do much to boost Disney’s big-budget “West Side Story” remake, which landed at No. 6 in its third weekend of release while bringing in $2.8 million from 2,810 venues. The Steven Spielberg-directed musical has generated $23.9 million domestically since opening earlier in December. The song-and-dance property has also had a slow go at it overseas, grossing only $12.7 million from 46 international territories so far. Globally, the $100 million-budgeted “West Side Story” has earned only $36.6 million.

After four weeks in limited release, director Paul Thomas Anderson’s coming-of-age comedic drama “Licorice Pizza” expanded to 786 North American theaters on Christmas Day and collected $2.32 million on Saturday and Sunday, enough for seventh place. To date, the MGM film and awards season hopeful has generated $3.6 million domestically.

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AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc (AMC.N) said on Friday nearly 1.1 million people watched “Spider-Man: No Way Home” in its theaters in the United States, a record opening for a movie across the company’s theaters in December.

“Spider-Man: No Way Home”, produced by Sony Corp’s (6758.T) movie studio and Walt Disney Co (DIS.N), stars Tom Holland as Marvel’s web-slinging superhero and Zendaya as his girlfriend, MJ.

The movie has already won glowing reviews from film critics, with box office analysts predicting the superhero action spectacle would set pandemic-era sales records at cinemas this weekend. As of Friday afternoon, “No Way Home” had earned a 95 per cent positive score from 207 reviews collected on the Rotten Tomatoes website.

“This was the single highest number of people watching one movie on one day at AMC’s US theaters during all of calendar years 2020 and 2021,” the world’s largest cinema chain said.

Similarly, Cinemark Holdings Inc(CNK.N)said the “Spider-Man” movie delivered the theater operator’s best US box office opening night of all time.

After a year of closures and restrictions due to the global health crisis, the gaining momentum of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in the United States seems to have had little impact on the latest Marvel release.

Earlier this month, London-based ODEON Cinemas, owned by AMC, said the tickets sales for the movie was three times that of recently released “James Bond – No Time to Die”.

The new “Spider-Man” movie was also the second-highest grossing movie title on its opening night of all-time, falling just short of “Avengers: Endgame”, which opened in 2019, AMC added.

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Babatunde Omidina better known as Baba Suwe

Veteran Yoruba comic actor, Babatunde Omidina better known as Baba Suwe is dead.

The announcement was made a few minutes ago when his son, Adesola Morenikeji Omidina took to his Instagram page to announce the sad news.

He was born on August 22, 1958, in Inabere Street in Lagos Island where he grew up but hails from Ikorodu local government area of Lagos State, southwestern Nigeria.

Omidina had his primary education at Jamaitul Islamial Primary School in Lagos and Children Boarding School, Osogbo before he proceeded to Adekanbi Commercial High School in Mile 12, Lagos state but obtained the West African School Certificate from Ifeoluwa Grammar School in Osogbo, the capital of Osun State.

Omidina began acting in 1971 but came into the limelight after he featured in a movie titled, Omolasan, a film produced by Obalende.

He became more popular after he featured in Iru Esin, produced by Olaiya Igwe in 1997. He had featured and produced several Nigerian movies such as Baba Jaiye jaiye, a movie that featured Funke Akindele and Femi Adebayo, the son of the veteran actor Adebayo Salami.

In 2011, he was accused of cocaine trafficking by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, an allegation that was described as false and defamatory by the ruling of the Lagos high court of law.

His solicitor was the late Bamidele Aturu, a Nigerian lawyer and human rights activist.
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Wizkid 

Fresh from winning the Best African Act in this year’s edition of the MTV Europe Music Awards, EMA, Wizkid has made another history as he won three AFRIMA awards.

The Joro crooner was named the Best African Artiste of the year at the 2021 African Music Awards, AFRIMA, which held Sunday night at Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Wizkid won three awards out of the four nominations he got in this year’s AFRIMA.

He  beat the likes of Burma Boy, Davido, South Africa’s Blaq Diamond, Diamond Platnumz (Tanzania), Fally Ipupa (DR Congo), Focalistic (South Africa), Makhadzi (South Africa), MHD (Guinea), Omah Lay (Nigeria) and Malian Aya Nakamura to clinch the highly contested Best Artiste of the Year award.

Other awards he won on the night include, Best Song of  the Year and Best African Collaborations.

But the biggest winner of the night was  Malian Ibaone, who won four awards — Album of the Year, African Male Artiste in Inspirational Music, Best Song Writer and Best Male Artiste from Western Africa.

FireBoy won two awards: the African Fans’ Favourite and Best Duo African Hip hop award alongside Cheque.

He gave recognition to top music act, Olamide, during his acceptance speech, for the support he, Olamide, gave to his music career.

Legendary Beatz won the Best Producer of The Year, while Flavour won the Best Artiste or Duo in African Dance or Choreography alongside Diamond Platnumz and Fally Ipupa.

The event, hosted by Eddie Kadi and Pearl Thusi, witnessed performances from Patoranking, Chike, Olakira, D’banj among others.
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Davido 

International music star, David Adeleke otherwise known as Davido has donated all the money he received during his 100M challenge ahead of his birthday.

Davido noted that he received 200M from fans and friends and added 50million

He donated N250million to all orphanages across Nigeria.

The singer made this known in a statement issued on Saturday, November 20, 2021.

In addition to the 200 million naira received, he made a personal donation of 50 million naira, bringing the total amount of money to N250 million, to be distributed to orphanages homes across the country.

To achieve this he had constituted a 5-man committee to take care of the logistics.
“The singer also revealed that he intends to do a fundraising every year to celebrate his birthday and give back the donation to the poor.

Davido shared a copy of the statement via Twitter;